Getting Beyond Grass: Alternatives to the Traditional Lawn
Unless you live in the desert, Southwest, an altitude nearing the tree line, or somewhere up in Alaska, then chances are pretty good that your home has a lawn. Take a moment and look out at that lawn. Is it healthy? Does it contain only the grass that you intended, or is it a hodgepodge of the grass you want mixed with crabgrass, weeds, and moss?
All the fertilizing, watering, weeding, mowing, and patience that goes into having an amazing lawn are often more than your average working person has time or energy for.
So, unless you are willing to pay for professional landscaping beyond the standard mow and edge, your lawn is most likely not the best looking attribute of your property. You may think that eventually you’ll get to it, or that it’s good enough.
But, have you ever stopped to consider that maybe your property would look better without a lawn or with ground cover that doesn’t require the level of maintenance and general commitment that a traditional grass lawn does?
Read on for a quick guide to some of the beautiful potential alternatives you can affordably and easily convert your traditional lawn into.
Paths and Beds
Consider turning your lawn into a full garden with pea gravel, stone, repurposed brick, or mulched pathways and intertwining beds of flowers, decorative plants, and vegetables.
You can divide the beds by purpose between perennials and annuals, rotating your vegetable areas to help minimize the amount of fertilizing work you have to do. Or, you can go with all decorative perennial beds of herbs and flowers and exempt yourself from the work of planting and harvesting vegetables.
Xeriscaping is a landscaping style that uses succulents and other drought-resistance plants in conjunction with sand, rocks, and other non-living decorative elements to create a landscape that is functional and appealing to the eye, yet nearly maintenance free and requiring almost no water.
Many of the finest homes in desert climates are xeriscaped, and to stunning effect. Just because plants are drought-resistant doesn’t make them any more dull or any less beautiful.
Minimize the Grass or Replace It With a Different Ground Cover
If you need to keep at least a little lawn (for barefoot summer moments or for the grandkid to frolic with puppies upon), consider keeping it as a small design element incorporated into the rest of your landscape.
Additionally, there are several types of ground cover that are soft on the bare foot and require little to no maintenance. Check into creeping thyme (ground cover you can use to season your cooking), white clover, or chamomile (yes, the one you make tea from) as excellent grass replacements.
You Have Ground Cover Options
Just because your house came with a lawn, all your neighbors have lawns, and your Grandfather kept a beautiful lawn at his home, doesn’t mean that you need to put in the time, money, and effort it takes to keep a good looking lawn. Investigate some or all of the alternatives above, and you may be surprised at what you find.
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